Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, is deepening his commitment to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health by supporting the Riley at IU Health School Program, which ensures that young patients can stay on track academically while hospitalized.
Luck’s initial relationship with Riley at IU Health began in April with the launch of the “Change the Play” program, an initiative he helped develop in partnership with Riley at IU Health designed to teach kids how to be the quarterback of their health and wellness.
Staffed by seven licensed teachers, the program coordinates assignments with patients’ schools and provides tutoring opportunities to all inpatients in kindergarten through grade 12 throughout their hospital stay.
Emily Hume, 12, of Seymour, Ind., has been hospitalized since July 4 due to a mysterious heart virus. Hume is tethered to the Berlin Heart device, a machine that allows her heart to regain its strength. To keep up with her studies, she works with a Riley at IU Health teacher each day – even Skyping at times with her hometown teachers and classmates.
“If this program didn’t exist, I’d have weeks and weeks of homework to catch up on when I go home,” Hume stated. “It helps prevent me from having to repeat the seventh grade.” Despite being in the hospital, Hume recently achieved her goal of earning straight A’s, landing her a spot on the high honor roll.
Luck will volunteer some of his free time to help patients complete homework assignments, science experiments and other fun-filled educational activities at the hospital.
In addition, Luck is donating personal funds to Riley Children’s Foundation to enrich the Riley at IU Health School Program. Two of his supporters, companies Chegg and Lenovo, are also providing free textbooks and tablets to patients and program staff.
“Ensuring children have access to a good education and seamless learning is something I’m passionate about,” Luck stated. “Helping support the Riley School Program is incredibly important to me because no child should have his or her academic goals sidelined by illness or injury.”
The Change the Play initiative not only emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and good nutrition, it also teaches kids to take care of themselves holistically by exercising their minds, keeping stress in check, getting sufficient sleep and modeling positive health behaviors to peers and family members. Change the Play is slated to further combine Luck’s passion for health and education as it rolls out in area schools early this year.
Last academic year, the Riley at IU Health School Program consulted with more than 6,000 families. Out of those consultations, the program provided comprehensive school services to approximately 850 patients and their families.